Three Ways a Reading Plan Will Help You Understand the Bible
Reading the Bible can be daunting. It is a book that has been misinterpreted, misapplied, misused, and misunderstood. Because of this, reading the Bible can feel daunting and we don’t know where to begin. We know we should read the Bible, but what’s a thoughtful way to engage the Scriptures? Although reading the Bible can feel overwhelming, we believe reading with a plan will help get you started. We strongly believe that bible reading plans can help you in three specific ways.
First, we want to be a community that reads the text in context. As bible Scholar’s quip, “A text without a context, is a pretext.” Reading plans expose us to a systematic study of the Scriptures in their entirety. For example, reading entire books can help us understand the situation surrounding the passage and better apply Scripture. Further, there are many genres in the Bible, and following a plan exposes us to stories, poetry, laments, letters, biographies, prayers, songs, and historical accounts. This helps us engage the many ways we receive revelation. Our worship and communion with God can then be shaped by the multiplicity of ways he communicates to us. Additionally, reading from a plan helps you encounter new books of the Bible. When was the last time you read about the evil of Israel’s failed Monarchs in Second Kings, or listened to the prophetic poems of Nahum? Not only do Bible reading plans encourage us to read some of the unfamiliar books, but it helps us consider the whole counsel of God. To read with a plan is to experience Christ in new and revelatory ways because of its exposure and comprehensiveness.
Second, reading with a plan encourages consistency. Reading daily creates a habit of reorientation. Every day we are pulled in multiple directions and our desires need to be re-aimed toward God. When we constantly expose ourselves to the risen Christ in his Word we are drawn to his purposes, values, mission, and love. Reading with a plan can develop a habit that points us in the direction of love for our triune God. Through the Holy Spirit’s illumination of Scripture to us, we are shaped into the image of his Son. A habitual practice of reading Scripture guides our telos, or ultimate aim, toward loving our heavenly Father. Reading the Scripture is not only a way to know things about Christ, but it ultimately centers us on his love and reorients our lives toward his kingdom.
Third, reading with a plan helps you experience Christ in all his splendor. While we may have our favorite Scriptures, reading broadly helps us engage the diversity of God’s character. In the Bible, we have the Words of God the Father, manifested in the Son, and illuminated by Spirit. Truly, reading Scripture is a trinitarian experience! As we are experiencing the living Word, we directly encounter the Almighty. This is no light affair, but a daily privileged experience that calls us to repent, believe, worship, and love our Savior. The Spirit will continually shape us through habitual encountering of Christ in his Word. A reading plan draws us toward the agent of change and into the image of his dear Son.
Below, we have provided some plans for daily reading. You will find a variety of plans, that vary in difficulty and length. Explore a plan that helps you engage unfamiliar Scriptures but isn’t too daunting.
Remember, the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. The Word is Jesus, and we encounter the crucified Christ every time we open Scripture. No matter where you are in your faith journey, we encourage you to read and experience the real Christ through the Words of God. Our desire is that a plan helps you encounter the Christ, contextually, habitually, and experientially. In the words of Augustine, “Pick up and Read!”
Article written by Caleb Harper
Connections and Community Pastor
CLICK HERE FOR ONLINE ESV BIBLE READING PLANS
Click below for individual printable plans
- M’Cheyne One-Year (365 days)
- Daily Light on the Daily Path (366 days)
- Chronological Reading Plan (365 Days)
- 6-Month New Testament (182 days)
- A Psalm a Day (150 days)
- A Proverb a Day (24 days)
- 30 Days in the New Testament (30 days)
- ESV Systematic Theology Study Bible (30 days)